South Africa News

Gauteng Health reveals 16 hospitals suffered water shortages & cancelled 392 operations this year

Water shortages are affecting the daily health care services in hospitals across the Gauteng, the Democratic Alliance’s (DA) provincial health spokesperson Jack Bloom said.

This comes after the Health MEC in Gauteng, Nomantu Nkomo-Ralehoko revealed that 16 public hospitals in the province had experienced water cuts during the year, forcing them to cancel about 392 operations.

Nkomo-Ralehoko responded to Bloom’s written questions in the Gauteng Legislature.

The following hospitals had to endure a series of delays and cuts due to water shortages.

– Between March to September, Helen Joseph Hospital had about seven water supply interruptions, with 36 operations being cancelled.

– Edenvale Hospital had to cancel 117 operations due to low water capacity or no water at all. The interruptions occurred seven times, sometimes lasting as long as a week. The negative effects on patients included being unable to clean, cook and operate essential equipment like boilers, laundry and autoclave sterilisers.

– Pholosong Hospital suffered six water failures which led to 127 operations being cancelled and 36 being deferred.

– Kalafong Hospital survived cancellation of surgeries after having major water shortages on January 28 and September 9.

In a statement, Bloom said water problems were not only because of Rand Water or municipality cuts, stating that no fewer than 11 hospitals lost water because of internal pipe breakages.

These included the Chris Hani Baragwanath, Charlotte Maxeke Johannesburg, George Mukhari, Steve Biko, Tembisa, Kalafong, Edenvale, Leratong, Yusuf Dadoo, Kopanong and Jubilee hospitals.

Despite the government saying the hospitals should have a minimum of 48 hours water storage, Bloom stressed that some hospitals do not have pumps to get water to higher floors – low water pressure is a particular problem at the Tembisa and Edenvale hospitals.

According to the department, steps were being taken to ensure that all hospitals have tankers and boreholes, rainwater harvesting, grey water reuse, and water purification plans at each facility.

“Better maintenance should also be a priority as leaking pipes aggravate the problem,” he said.

He mentioned that the DA would support all efforts to ensure that hospitals were water-resilient to cope with the current water crisis in the province.

Furthermore, the DA is expected to march to Water and Sanitation Minister Senzo Mchunu’s office on Wednesday, to hand over a memorandum of demands amid mounting Gauteng water shortages.

-IOL Politics

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